Psychiatric Drugs May Not Lead to Death

By Camille H, Parent Herald August 31, 12:42 pm

Drugs for treatment of psychiatric illnesses may not increase risks of dying over three to four months of treatment, according to a study released Friday.

Researchers of the study published in the JAMA Psychiatry found that people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are more likely to die at any given time than people without those conditions, but taking drugs to treat the disorders don't appear to increase the risk.

"If anything they seem to reduce the risk - except for a couple of old drugs," said lead author Dr. Arif Khan of the Northwest Clinical Research Center to Reuters Health.

Researchers have known for several years now that the lives of people suffering from serious mental illnesses are about 25 years shorter than the rest of the population.

Early deaths are caused by suicide, substance abuse, natural causes and heart attacks.

The researchers of the new study analyzed data on more than 92,000 people who participated in trials for 28 drugs approved for treatment of schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders and attention-deficit/hyper activity disorder between 1990 and 2011.

Compared to the general population, the researchers found people with schizophrenia were almost four times more likely to die every year and people with bipolar disorder and depression were about three times more likely to die every year.

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